Thousands flock to Libya's first comic-con

Thousands of comic and cosplay fans attended Libya’s first-ever Comic Convention, which was held in Tripoli from September 23-25.

The event was staged at the Libyan capital’s international convention center, which was lined with booths displaying various comic book franchises, gaming stations and merchandise.

The idea for the convention was born when a group of eight friends wanted to share their passion for comics with fellow Libyans.

“The (initial) idea for this exhibit and for Comic Con is animated stories, but then the idea grew. It isn’t just about animation anymore, but it grew and evolved to include films and also TV shows, and basically anything related to the entertainment media,” said event supervisor, Hesham Areef.

Comic Con began in 1970 in southern California to bring together multi-entertainment platforms and their fans in one place.

Since then, the convention steadily gained fanfare and has now been held every year in various cities around the world, including London, New York and San Diego.

In April, the Middle East Comic Convention was held in Dubai for the fourth year in a row, and was attended by more than 60,000 people.

At Libya’s inaugural Comic Con, attendees gathered to play video games, shop for new merchandise and take part in various interactive activities. Cosplay - the contraction for the words costume play - was also popular as fans dressed up as their favorite comic characters.

“Comic Con is an exhibit that brings together the ideas of drawings, cartoons, fictional characters, cosplay, and paintings, etc. I’m an avatar representing a fictional character called Ang, it’s from a Japanese comic and its idea is having power through controlling the earth’s four natures which are, water, air, fire, and earth,” said Mohamed Taher, one of the attendees.

According to the Libya Herald, a local publication, 7,000 tickets were sold on the convention’s opening day, and it was estimated that some 20,000 people would have attended the event by the end of its three-day duration.

Despite the hardships Libya is currently facing, the Comic Con organizers won sponsorship from the country’s Ministry of Culture as well as the Arete Foundation for Arts and Culture, a local NGO specializing in arts and culture.

“The idea is really great to host the Comic Con here in Libya, but since it’s still the first time the application of the actual exhibit needs some work. But hopefully time after time it will get better, plus the turnout is amazing,” said another Comic Con attendee, Haitham.

The organizers advertised the event heavily on social media, and regularly updated fans with the latest news and posting pictures of the exhibit.